Chef Bios: Lidia Bastianich

A look at the life of this famous chef and restaurateur

As a chef, restaurateur, TV personality, and author, Lidia Bastianich has combined the warmth and comfort of Italian cuisine with fine dining.

Bastianich was born in Croatia and raised in New Jersey and Astoria, Queens. At 24, she opened her first restaurant, Buonavia, in Queens with her husband, Felice Bastianich. Due to its success, they opened Secondo two years later. It was here that Bastianich first gained notoriety when she began hosting food demonstrations. In 1981 the couple closed both places in order to open a new restaurant in Manhattan. Felidia would go on to receive three stars from The New York Times and a nomination for Outstanding Restaurant in the U.S. from the James Beard Foundation.

Bastianich has two children, Joseph and Tanya. Joseph Bastianich is a famed restaurateur who owns 14 restaurants with his mother and Chef Mario Batali. Bastianich owns Del Posto, Becco, Esca, Lidia’s Pittsburgh, and Lidia’s Kansas City with her son. Lidia Bastianich’s first PBS series, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, premiered in 1998, followed by Lidia’s Family Table and Lidia’s Italy in 2007. She has also written six cookbooks.


Culinary Style: Italian
Restaurants: Felidia, Becco, Esca, Lidia’s Kansas City, Lidia’s Pittsburgh
Born: 1947

While in high school, Lidia Bastianich worked at Christopher Walken’s father’s bakery, called Walken’s Bakery in Astoria, Queens.